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October 21, 2006

Quantities and Overlords

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Dean Baker thinks that fears of slowing population growth are misguided. Nice line:

It is silly to talk of threats of declining populations due to voluntary decisions by people not to have children. Any impact of rising dependency ratios on living standards can be easily offset by productivity growth.

I like Dean's emphasis on the voluntary-ness of those decisions. By letting our overlords scare us into thinking that we're doing something that needs fixing, aren't we in effect letting them do what they so love to do -- top-downishly dictate our destinies? Why on earth should we let them get away with such a blatant power-grab?



posted by Michael at October 21, 2006


This is consistently the best Arts/Culture blog going. Thanks for your efforts. I've checked in daily for the past few years. Do some more stuff on the whole 'Western Art' thing, when you get the notion. Very interesting. There's a parallel between that and the 'Cowboy Poets' thing and a while back, I was reading about 'Fisherman Poets'. In Oregon. The 'Cowboy Artists' were on the leading edge of the whole 'Authenticity' credentialing deal. That was/is the selling point, but it's really all about marketing, as you were saying in the publishing business. Like all things, including brain surgery, there's a bit more to it once you get involved.

Posted by: Sam Boogliodemus on October 21, 2006 11:43 PM

Sam -- Thanks for the nice comment, and thanks too for dropping by regularly. It's a deep pleasure to meet, compare notes with, and learn from people. Eager to hear more from you!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 23, 2006 12:16 AM

I'm a bit suspicious of Mr. Baker's argument. On its face, he is correct; the financial problems associated with Social Security are of the "we can muddle through" variety. However, I notice he is silent on the problems associated with Medicare and Medicaid. These will unquestionably break the bank, unless the growth of medical expenses can be seriously contained or even reversed. (In some states, Medicaid alone now accounts for one half of all budgeted spending.) In other words, entitlement programs are a major financial problem, and having Mr. Baker tell us that because one of them (Social Security) is a problem that can be lived with doesn't mean that we can all safely go to sleep and not meddle with entitlements. Every year we delay doing so, of course, while listening to soothing lullabies by Mr. Baker, makes the problem worse.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on October 23, 2006 11:58 PM

FvB -- He doesn't go into it on that specific posting, but in others Baker's quite as fervent as you are about the way Medicare and Medicaid are getting alarming I'm not with Baker on everything, but I think he's shrewd about the way some powers-that-be are scaring us with nonsense stories about aging populations to strong-arm us into accepting nutty immigration policies. They aren't doing it for our good, that's for sure!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 25, 2006 12:28 AM

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